I’ve now had close to 24 hours to process the revelation that Sophomore MJ Morris decided to sit out the remainder of the season, to redshirt the year. After 24 hours, it still is one of, if not the most bewildering decisions I’ve seen from a college athlete.
Morris ultimately is making the decision that is best for him, and it seems that his decision is heavily influenced by his family members. What I find confusing, is how he, or his family, think this is what is best for him.
Even if Morris ultimately ends up transferring, which has not been communicated as the ultimate desire at this point, I can’t understand how making the decision now helps him land at the best possible school and situation. I say that, because up to this point, Morris has done nothing to increase his stock in the Transfer Portal this season.
Morris’ PFF Grade in 2022 was 65.6, and it’s 55.5 in 2023 (For perspective, Armstrong’s grade in 2023 is 66.5). His Passing Efficiency Rating was an impressive 148.3 in 2022. This season it’s sitting 120.8. His completion percentage is down (60.5% in 2022/5.8% in 2023). I could go through every metric, but he has taken a step back in all of them.
MJ Morris hasn’t put anything on film that would increase his stock in 2023, besides the fact that he’s 3-1 as a starter, though I wouldn’t rank him as one of the Top 3 reasons NC State won those three games.
The reality is, MJ Morris hasn’t been good at playing the Quarterback position through 4 games. Yes, NC State has won 3 games with him at Quarterback, but I don’t believe they won because he was playing Quarterback.
With that being said, he had an opportunity to play three lesser defenses in the upcoming weeks, facing Wake Forest, Virginia Tech and UNC.
In doing so, sure, he would have lost a year of eligibility. On the other hand, he might have put himself in a position to transfer to a “better” situation in his mind.
I don’t understand how making this decision, when he made the decision, helps his future stock in the Transfer Portal. I understand that every player has to make the decision that’s best for them as an individual, and for their future. With that being said, no matter how you slice it, he quit on his team. He quit on his team as the starting Quarterback of a team that isn’t eliminated from the ACC Championship game, has a chance to finish conference play with a 6-2 record, and lead the Wolfpack to a possible 10-win season. I don’t mean this as a slight on Morris’ character, but if I’m a coach of another team, this sounds a pretty loud alarm.
I understand that I’m not even addressing the idea that Morris is choosing to redshirt the season, with the intention to return to NC State next season. That’s because I can’t fathom that being how this saga ends. If I’m a coach or a teammate, this decision leaves a sour taste in my mouth. In a locker room, the players in there go to war together, with the understanding that each individual will do whatever is necessary to help their team win games. This decision runs contrary to the culture that Dave Doeren has built at NC State.
Dave Doeren had this to say about Linebacker Jaylon Scott’s decision not to transfer leading up to the Miami game. I’m not saying it was directed at Morris, but it is telling of Doeren’s possible view of decisions like this.
“A great story. In today’s world, not just football. In general to see at the high school level now, kids are picking up and transferring all the time. It’s sad. Parents are robbing young people of adversity. ‘That’s okay, honey. Let’s do this. That’s too hard.’ That’s sad. That’s why we’re a soft country.
That’s one reason I expect this to end with a “mutual” parting of ways. To be honest, I think NC State needed to go hit the Transfer Portal and find a starting Quarterback for 2024 prior to this announcement, because I don’t think Morris has shown that he is the Quarterback of the future, or now for that matter.
If this was the plan all along for Morris, why not choose only to play the final 4 games of the season? Also, maybe I’m old school, but if I’m a coach, I don’t have much patience or tolerance for a player determining when he’s going to play, unless health is an issue. That’s the coaches job.
Did Morris and his family worry that NC State might go get a high level QB in the offseason (which they should have even if he didn’t make this decision)? Did Morris and family have a bad taste in their mouth when NC State went and got Armstrong in the portal (No matter how well Morris played in a short sample size in 2022, it would have been irresponsible in my book to place the future in Morris’ hands at that point)?
The questions abound.
The reality is this. Morris and his family made the decision that they believed was best for him. I’m not sure how this exactly was the best decision for him, but ultimately that’s not my decision to make. At the end of the day, I’m not saying Morris is a bad person. He seems like a respectable young man, but at the end of the day, it’s a bad look for him and it will follow him into his future.
This is the last thing I’ll write on this. The way this was announced was a distraction from a team that just beat Clemson and Miami, with a lot left to play for. It was announced in such a way that gave Wake Forest an advantage in game prep.
NC State, and all of the players that are choosing to suit up on Saturday at Wake Forest deserve to have the attention on them.
NC State LB Payton Wilson Wins the Bednarik Award!
NC State’s Payton Wilson won the Butkus Award earlier this week, naming him the best Linebacker in college football. Tonight he won the Bednarik Award, which has been given out annually to the best defensive player in college football since 1995.
Wilson beat out Alabama Linebacker Dallas Turner and UCLA’s Defensive End Laiatu Latu.
Prior to this week, no NC State Linebacker had ever won the Butkus Award. Prior to tonight, no NC State defensive player had ever won the Bednarik Award.
Below is a list of the former Bednarik Award winners.
In one week, Wilson has done what no other Linebacker of defensive player at NC State has ever done.
Go ahead and retire the #11 already!
Wake Forest Transfer WR Welsey Grimes Commits to NC State!
NC State just picked up their first transfer of the 2024 class, and it’s a big one. Former Wake Forest Wide Receiver Wesley Grimes (6’2″/187) just committed to run with the Wolfpack.
As a Sophomore this season, Grimes caught 20 passes for 339 yards and 4 touchdowns in 12 games. As a True Freshman last year, he played in his 6 games, collecting 4 receptions for 33 yards and a touchdown.
In all reality, Grimes is coming home. He was a 4-Star prospect out of Millbrook High School here in Raleigh. ON3, 247Sports and Rivals all ranked Grimes as a Top-250 prospect in the 2022 recruiting class, with Rivals ranking him as the #36 overall player nationally, the #4 Wide Receiver, and the #2 player in the state of North Carolina.
From a recruiting rankings standpoint, Grimes instantly becomes the highest ranked player on NC State’s roster. Since he played as a True Freshman, Grimes has 3 seasons to play 2 years of eligibility.
Back in 2021, Grimes chose the Demon Deacons over NC State, Tennessee, Duke and Louisville. On December 8th, 2023, Grimes decided to come back home and run with the Pack.
Kansas State will be Without Their Offensive Coordinator & Starting Quarterback Against NC State
Kansas State will be without their Offensive Coordinator and starting Quarterback when they face NC State in the Pop-Tarts Bowl on December 28th.
New Texas A&M head coach Mike Elko, who just left the same position at Duke, paid big bucks to hire Wildcats Offensive Coordinator Collin Klein as his OC, who had been serving in the position at Kansas State for the past 2 seasons. For the past 7 seasons, Klein has served as the Wildcats Quarterbacks Coach.
This season, Kansas State ranks 23rd in Total Offense (446.1) and 14th in Rushing Offense (199.7).
As Quarterbacks Coach, he helped develop four-year starter Will Howard, who announced he would be entering the Transfer Portal on November 27th. This season, Howard earned 2nd Team All-Big 12 honors. In 12 games, he threw for 2,643 yards and 24 touchdowns (10 interceptions). Howard also rushed for 351 yards and 9 touchdowns.
Howard will be replaced by Freshman Avery Johnson. There was speculation that Johnson might follow Klein to Texas A&M, but he will be starting for the Wildcats in Orlando against the Wolfpack.
NC State’s Kevin Concepcion Earns Freshman All-American Status from The Athletic
NC State Wide Receiver Kevin Concepcion has been named a Freshman All-American by The Athletic.
Here’s what they had to say about KC:
WR Kevin Concepcion, NC State: “KC” easily won ACC Rookie of the Year this season after catching 64 passes for 767 yards, rushing for 297 yards on 7.8 yards per carry and scoring 11 total touchdowns. The 5-foot-11, 187-pound slot receiver from Charlotte was a three-star signee who proved he should start right away as a true freshman. Over his last seven games, Concepcion has averaged 117 total yards per game. (The Athletic)